Beginning today, medical residency programs in Illinois are required to inform the state disciplinary board if residents fail to complete their training.
The change was due in large part to the exploits of Dr. Anthony Garcia, who has been charged with killing four people. Garcia was able to hold his medical license in Illinois for 10 years despite alarming inconsistencies with various residency programs.
According to documents obtained from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Garcia’s supervisors expressed concerns over his lengthy absences and failure to contact them. They ended his contract in 2004, but UIC did not report Garcia’s actions to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which licenses doctors throughout the state. Illinois continued to renew his permanent medical license because UIC was not required by law to report Garcia’s shortcomings to the IDFPR.
“We’ve been, obviously, aware for some time that there have been problems with clarifying whether clinical programs need to be required to notify,” said Sue Hofer, spokesperson for the state regulation department. “Dr. Garcia provided a very good example of some of those problems we had seen in the past, and this clarifies to the heads of the program that it doesn’t matter if it was mutual or the program or the participant, we need to know if there is a separation.”
Under the new regulations, postgraduate clinical training programs must report residents who leave their programs early or fail to complete their term to the IDFPR. The IDFPR can make additional inquires after they have been informed which residents are not making the standard. As it currently stands, directors do not need to disclose why a resident failed to complete his or her program, but Hofer believes directors will share the reasoning if it is pertinent.
“I expect that a brief explanation will be required so the board can decide whether they need additional information,” Hofer said.
Sean Sullivan comments
I have handled licensing issues with the IDFPR from both the prosecution side and the defense side. This is a significant change in Illinois law that medical school students need to be aware of. This will allow the IDFPR to now have some sort of control over medical students.
It is a gray area as to whether they will be able to take disciplinary action against these students if they have not yet earned their medical license. I would argue that the IDFPR would have no such jurisdiction over medical students who have not yet been granted an Illinois medical license. However, the IDFPR does retain jurisdiction over the requirements and rules that determine which medical students are eligible to even receive a medical license.
The new law will make it harder for medical students who have extended absences from their training programs to apply for their medical license by forcing them to complete additional requirements if they fail to meet the new standards.
Related source: Chicago Tribune